This Month's Picks

Ladytron (CD)

After seven and a half years, icy electro quartet Ladytron makes a triumphant return on this excellent self-titled LP. The band never skips a beat, building on their instantly recognizable sound while updating it for 2019. It perhaps comes as no surprise that the album's thematic elements include claustrophobia and disorientation -- although Ladytron have kindly thrown a bit of hope into the lyrics and the album is never a downer. It's distant, melancholy and chilly at times, but it's also a solid banger, awash with love and yet steeped in tension. In short, Ladytron have come back just in time to give us a lovely zeitgeist-capturing little gem of an LP. More
Genre: Rock

Head Above Water (CD)

Avril Lavigne
Canadian pop-punk princess Avril Lavigne makes a triumphant return on her brave new LP, Head Above Water . Her first album in five years, the LP was written as a response to Lavigne's 2014 Lyme Disease diagnosis; the result is a raw, vulnerable, powerful collection of songs that showcase the artist at her finest. Lavigne's career has taken her from those early days making infectious, perpetually snotty rock/pop to a very impressive now, when she's creating heartfelt, gorgeously open piano ballads. Head Above Water is a strong, dramatic, and ultimately triumphant new album that'll steal your heart as well as catch your ear. More
Genre: Rock

Buoys (CD)

Panda Bear
Buoys , the sixth solo album from Panda Bear, is a bright, shimmering, fantastical outing. With candy-pop gloss, experimental leanings, and some thoroughly weirdo moments, it’s everything one wants from Noah Lennox in his ursine incarnation. The album finds Lennox teaming up once again with longtime producer and collaborator Rusty Santos, delving into auto-tune, pop music production techniques, and hypnotic drone to create a fuller, more explorational sound. The result is an eclectic mix of songs that’s at times jubilant, at times introspective, at times totally zoned out — no matter what Panda Bear does, there’s no holding back on Buoys . More
Genre: Rock

Quiet Signs (CD)

Jessica Pratt
Jessica Pratt's Quiet Signs spins a mysterious, melancholy spell. On her third LP, the songwriter sounds more fully in command of her voice, more capable of crafting exquisitely devastating melodies than ever before — it’s a remarkable evolution for an artist who has already proven her ability to captivate on her previous two LPs. Pratt’s latest collection of hazy little heartbreaking gems will leave you breathless once you notice their ability to impart a quick sucker punch to the gut. Dark, lush, and as intriguing as a distant dream. More
Genre: Rock

Already Ready Already (CD)

Interstellar jazz/funk collective Galactic put out their 10th studio LP in their 20+ year history, which also doubles as the inaugural release of their very own Tchoup-Zilla records. Coupled with their recent purchase of hometown New Orleans nightclub Tipitina’s, Already Ready Already completes a trifecta of music industry moves that show that Galactic are solidifying their scene into a legitimate institution. Immune to trends but not to innovation, Galactic have updated their New Orleans funk with elements of hip-hop, modern R&B, and at times even a heavy electronica influence. Synths bleep and bloop all over “Touch Get Cut,” while “Going Straight Crazy” aims for the soulful pop sweet spot occupied by Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” or peak Gnarls Barkley. With a bevy of guest female divas singing over these grooves, Already Ready Already might be the group’s catchiest, most pop-forward record yet. Don’t pay any mind to the “jam band” label, as the album spans 8 tracks totaling 25 minutes. Only the most confident improvisers can vibe with Shakespeare’s ethos on brevity. More
Genre: New Orleans

Far Out Dust (CD)

Indie/electronica wiz Talos has been described as "the Irish James Blake," a comparison that certainly does seem to fit main man Eoin French's sweeping soundscapes and introspective vocals. Long a favorite in his native Ireland, for North American audiences, Far Out Dust serves as an excellent introduction to the intriguing Mr. French. A classically trained musician who first caught the ear of critics via his indie band Hush War Cry, French's lyrics ride that emotional sweet spot between dark and light; he never seems to shy away from the vulnerability that gives his cinematic tracks their haunting effect. A moving, magnificent album with a visceral impact. More
Genre: Rock

Kingdoms Disdained [Deluxe Edition] (CD)

Morbid Angel
Death metal stalwarts Morbid Angel's ninth album Kingdoms Disdained is a welcome return to form after 2011's Illud Divinum Insanus . Drawing on the sounds of the first three albums with singer Steve Tucker, these tracks deliver the speed and intricate solos, especially on the first half of the record. Trey Azagthoth's riffs are catchier here, for example on the opening song, “Piles of Little Arms,” and drummer Scott Fuller brings an impressive urgency and intensity to stellar tracks like "For No Master." More
Genre: Rock

Five (CD)

White Lies
The centerpiece of White Lies’ fifth album, the aptly titled Five , is the mini-epic “Time to Give,” a seven-minute long ode to marriage dysfunction. The song paces around patiently, utterly unhurried while frontman Harry McVeigh delivers lines such as “Sell the house but not the home” and “Kids grow up and they’ll pin the blame on you,” before our protagonist takes a hit of some really strong midlife crisis weed and ventures into a synthesizer fantasia. It’s one thing to costume yourself as a buttoned up, sharp-dressing ensemble in the vein of post-punk revivalists Editors or 21st century sophistipop group The National, it’s another thing entirely to actually live it. A decade into their career, White Lies have lived it. The band’s existential melancholy is draped in new-wave signifiers not because '80s music is fun, but because these are the kinds of lads whose formative nights were spent debauching in various dingy '80s nights and whose identities were shaped by the hungover memories. Five is the sound of realizing your youth is firmly behind you, and White Lies are quickly finding themselves to be the old guys at the club. Sure, the kids might not understand this one. Good thing the hooks are here for everybody. More
Genre: Rock

The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change (CD)

Nina Nesbitt
Scottish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt seems to be bordering on the big time with her latest, The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change . Although not unfamiliar to UK audiences who took her sophomore LP to #21 on the charts, this latest LP should serve as an intriguing intro to American audiences. Nesbitt’s songwriting and performance prowess is on excellent display here, with tracks that are sometimes introspective and yearning, other times boldly defiant and confidently badass. Case in point: standout track “Loyal to Me.” This sugar sweet pop album with an edge will keep listeners coming back again and again. More
Genre: Rock

Stuffed & Ready (CD)

Cherry Glazerr
Cherry Glazerr’s excellent Stuffed & Ready showcases the LA trio’s evolution from their garage rock roots into an eclectic, accomplished group that navigates post-punk, dream pop, and power chord-heavy indie rock with ease. Lead single “Daddi” is a satirical, biting response to patriarchal culture set to a dark, moody post-punk melody. “Wasted Nun” is a variation on the theme played out over bouncy big riffs—you could party hard to it, if you weren’t listening too closely to the smart, defiant lyrics. (Hell, perhaps you could anyway, if it was that kind of party.) “Pieces” is hazy, dreamy, and lush. Early as it is in the year, Stuffed & Ready stands out as one of the best records of 2019 so far. More
Genre: Rock